Help! Ants!

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Tinker, Apr 15, 2004.

  1. Tinker

    Tinker Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Went out to clean up my rose bed today, and it is full of ants! I mean 3 or 4 different colonies. When I lifted up my stepping stones, they were everywhere. In the past when I had ants in the yard, I always just sprinkled the ant granuals from the canister (dursaban??? maybe) on them, but didn't know if that would damage any plants I plan on putting in the flower bed.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for a plant safe but effective treatment?

    Thanks guys!
     
  2. culpeper

    culpeper Well-Known Member

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    If you can guarantee to keep kids and pets away, try mixing together in jar lids or similar shallow containers some borax with enough jam or honey to make a paste. Place several containers here and there where the ants are foraging. The ants will eat it, take it back to the nest and feed it to their sisters and mother, and they'll all die. If you have kids and/or pets, you will have to devise a way to cover the containers so they can't access the contents - wire cages, or something.
     

  3. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Bar none, baits are the best way to treat ants. Its eloquent because it takes advantage of ant behavior to introduce a absolute minimum amount of a dilute toxicant. Boric acid can work great. It's cheap and easily obtained. You just have to keep the concentration very low. It should be less than 5% by weight. That means a 10oz jar of jelly would only take 1/2oz. of boric acid. Thats like 1/4 tsp. Ten ounces is enough for 4 years of serious ant problems.

    The key and the trick with any bait is acceptance. If the ants take it and the active ingredient is slow acting, it will kill the whole colony.

    I'm guessing from your posting there was an annual ant celebration going on. I bet you don't that much activity every day.

    Normally, only 5-10% of the ants have outside jobs. When you see a mass, you must have exposed the colony or they were doing the mumbo.

    Amdro is a good bait -- if they take it. Someone else recommended Logic for fire ants. I have heard it is also an excellent bait. Combat granular is a consumer version of another excellent bait.

    It's easy to tell if a bait is going to work. Put down a few grains and watch. If they like it, they will pick it up immediately. Another baiting tip is the closer to the mound, the less picky they are about taking it.

    Baits are far and away the safest way to deal with ants. The toxicity is low, the concentration is low, the amount is small. Watch after you bait. Don't wait all summer to re-apply. If you continue seeing too many, test the bait again and apply some more.
     
  4. Tinker

    Tinker Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks folks! Think I will try the Combat 1st. I think that may be what I used before, that worked great. I was just afraid it would hurt the plants. I have 2 Shepherds, and one of them is a real scavenger, so I'm afraid that he would dispose of any honey or jelly in an instant.

    And yea, I will keep reapplying till they are all gone, as I need to get in that bed and get some new plants in. Want all those little buggers out of there before I put my hands in!

    Thanks again for your help!
     
  5. culpeper

    culpeper Well-Known Member

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    Boric acid and borax are the same thing.
     
  6. I don't mind ants around as long as they are far from the house and garden. To get them to greener pastures, I crush up some of the oldest dried Cayennes I always have extra of (I grow and eat a lot of Cayenne!) and sprinkle it around where they are active and sprinkle a "barrier" in the opposite direction I want them to go. In a few days they generally pack up and move their entire operation. :)

    ~Michael- Boise
     
  7. james dilley

    james dilley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    take a broom handle make a hole in the mound then pour about a quart of diesel into the hole .works 95% of the time.
     
  8. heelpin

    heelpin Well-Known Member

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    Boiling water is the best cheapest and cleanest remedy I've found, this will kill grass but don't know how close you can get to large plants and not damage them. I use this on large fire ant mounds and it works but you might have to do it two or three times to get them all. I have also been successful with Miracle II soap, just save your bath water and keep pouring it on the mounds, the Miracle II is also effective as a garden spray if you hit the bug with it, I've killed all kinds of bugs with it except flea beetles and it will get them if you make it strong enough but make it too strong and it will burn sensitive plants.

    Tom
     
  9. blhmabbott

    blhmabbott We're gettin' there!

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    If you'd like a non-chemical solution to the problem, plant Peonies. They are a natural ant attracter and I've never seen ants hurt the plant. It would at least get them out of your roses.
    Heather